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How We Bounce Back: The New Science of Human Resilience


Car accidents. Suicide bombers. Earthquakes. Death of a spouse. Why do some people bounce back from traumatic events while others do not? Is there a biological profile of resiliency? Can science, with the jab of a needle or huff of an aerosol, help reduce post-stress trauma? Can, and should, we train people to be more resilient? Leading thinkers from around the world explore these and other questions about the science of human resiliency.

PARTICIPANTS: George Bonanno, Dennis Charney, Fran Norris, Matthieu Ricard
Original Program Date: May 31, 2012

Bill Blakemore’s introduction. 00:20

Participant Introductions. 1:46

How do we define human resilience? 3:36

The news is just a reminder of traumatic events. 8:45

We should feel bad after something awful happens. 13:30

Does our spices have a predisposition to be resilient? 16:36

Rosa Montesinos’s story of resilience. 20:05

What happens to your body when you experience a traumatic event? 23:20

The capacity of the brain is largely untapped. 28:41

Will there ever be a pill that makes you more resilient? 33:19

What is a genetic optimist? 37:24

Sondra Singer Beaulieu’s story of resilience. 38:30

Can we think of resilience as a timeline? 41:48

The intervention style of debriefing. 47:35

The shock of war and it effects on PTSD. 51:11

Jerry White’s story of resilience. 56:02

What are the character traits that make up resilience? 59:03

Are some post disaster community’s more resilient that others? 1:03:38

Ndeye Ndiage’s story of resilience. 1:12:25

The use of meditation to relive the stress of traumatic events. 1:16:35

Can government leaders do anything about human resilience? 1:21:43

[Video and text source: World Science Festival You Tube channel]